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Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7 Bluetooth speaker review: A top micro wireless speaker that's pricey

While it's a bit overpriced, the Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7 is a superslim Bluetooth speaker that sounds very good for its size.

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David Carnoy
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David Carnoy

Executive Editor / Reviews

Executive Editor David Carnoy has been a leading member of CNET's Reviews team since 2000. He covers the gamut of gadgets and is a notable reviewer of mobile accessories and portable audio products, including headphones and speakers. He's also an e-reader and e-publishing expert as well as the author of the novels Knife Music, The Big Exit and Lucidity. All the titles are available as Kindle, iBooks, Nook e-books and audiobooks.

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3 min read

Jawbone put tiny Bluetooth wireless speakers on the map with the Jambox, but Soundmatters is the company that provided key audio components for the Jambox while quietly selling its own well-received speaker, the FoxL.

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7.7

Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7 Bluetooth speaker

The Good

The <b>Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7</b> is a tiny wireless speaker that sounds good for its size, has good battery life (12 hours), and is ideal for frequent travelers. It comes with a nice carrying case that converts into a stand and has speakerphone capabilities.

The Bad

Pretty pricey; doesn't sound as good at higher volumes with bass-heavy material and more complicated music.

The Bottom Line

While it's a bit overpriced, the Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7 is a superslim Bluetooth speaker that sounds very good for its size.

Like the Mini Jambox, which also apparently uses some of Soundmatters' technology, the new FoxL Dash 7 is a very slim speaker that's only 0.75 inch deep and weighs a mere 0.44 pound. It's thinner than the Mini Jambox but longer and can be propped up vertically using the included convertible case stand, or laid down flat so the speaker fires upward. Like the Jambox, it doubles as a speakerphone and works well in that capacity.

The speaker weighs only 0.44 pound and is 0.75 inch thick (click image to enlarge). Sarah Tew/CNET

Overall, it's a really nice little speaker that comes in a few different colors and obviously travels very well -- and I like the fact that it comes with a case, something that Jawbone didn't include with the Mini. On the flip side, the Dash doesn't have the Mini's fancy voice prompts, which also alert you to battery level.

As far as connectivity goes, there's an audio input for non-Bluetooth devices and a port for connecting Soundmatters' optional FoxLo palm-size powered subwoofer. You can charge the device via Micro-USB or an AC adapter that offers faster recharging. Battery life is rated at 12 hours for wireless streaming, which is better than average for this type of speaker.

Stop, look, and listen: The Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7 (pictures)

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For its size, the Dash 7 sounds quite good and plays as loud as the larger FoxL v2. According to Soundmatters, it features a new fifth-generation twoofer ("tweeters that woof") -- and BassBattery, which is a battery that doubles as a passive radiator. And the Bluetooth is described as having extended range (beyond the typical 30 feet), but no specific range is given. I did manage to stream to the speaker from over 50 feet away.

However, like the Mini Jambox, the Dash 7 does have its sound limitations. You can only get so much bass out of the speaker and it just doesn't sound all that great with bass-heavy material and complicated rock tracks, especially when you crank the volume. Sound will be distorted with certain tracks. Also, it's hard to keep the Dash 7 propped on the stand when you raise the volume because the speaker does vibrate and will slip away from the magnetized case.

Propped vertically in its case (click image to enlarge). Sarah Tew/CNET

It's strongest with acoustical tracks, which come across most clearly, and it also works well as a mini sound bar for video watching on a tablet or laptop. (In fact, Soundmatters is promoting it as a tablet companion and says it "fits beautifully below an iPad or other tablet without blocking your view, providing omnidirectional sound for watching movies and music videos.")

Conclusion
The only major issue I had with the Dash 7 is its price. As it stands, it'll cost you about $220 while the Mini Jambox can be had for around $50 less. Despite the Mini's sleek look, I think the Dash 7 does have some design advantages. I like its rounded corners and it's a little lighter than the Mini while feeling almost as sturdy. But it's hard to justify spending the extra money on it.

In the end, both the Jambox Mini and the Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7 are very much about the convenience of having a tiny, relatively decently performing speaker that takes up little room in a bag. There are better-sounding $200 wireless speakers, such as the UE Boom and Bose SoundLink Mini, that are about twice the size and weight, and they're the better choice if you want better sound. However, the Dash 7 is right there at the top of the micro wireless speaker class. I just think it should cost a little less.

The bottom has rubberized feet (click image to enlarge). Sarah Tew/CNET

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Soundmatters FoxL Dash 7 Bluetooth speaker

Score Breakdown

Design 9Features 8Sound 7Value 6
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